Arranged on tables, walls and in display cases, Nashville Public Library’s “Why a Beautiful Book?” showcases illustrations and prints by a number of legendary artists (Picasso, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jacob Lawrence) interpreting literary works by famous writers.
The exhibit remains on view through Dec. 30 in the library’s art gallery.
Pairings include Dean Mitchell’s etchings from Maya Angelou’s “Music, Deep Rivers in My Soul” (2003); Henri Matisse’s take on James Joyce’s “Ulysses” (1934); and Thomas Hart Benton’s views of Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” (1940).
Benton and Grant Wood were the subjects of concurrent 2009 exhibitions at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts highlighting their illustration careers. Here, a 1937 edition of Sinclair Lewis’ “Main Street” shows Wood’s illustration of a woman standing in front of a white clapboard church in a scene reminiscent of his iconic “American Gothic” painting from seven years earlier.
“Three Poems,” an oversized book of poems by Octavio Paz, is open to one of Robert Motherwell’s elegant lithographs.
All the works displayed in “Why a Beautiful Book?” are drawn from the Wilson Limited Editions Collection funded by Dr. Sadye Tune Wilson. Housed at the library and generally available for appointment-only viewing, the materials come from the Limited Editions Club and Arion Press, publishers of artists’ and handmade books.
Nashville Public Library’s main branch is at 615 Church St. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Christmas Day. For information, call 615-862-5800 or go to http://library.nashville.org.
— MiChelle Jones
The Tennessean 8:27 PM, Dec 13, 2012